Chapter four

A story

On the roof top of the highest building in town, N.4 scanned the area searching for any variation in the air. He switched building every five minutes, going from West to East. The fear of being purchased by the master haunted him. He was terrified. But he had a plan: ‘Find him.’ It was an easy plan. So he focused on this only task for the last few weeks. But he had no results. Until one day, a new aura appeared out of nowhere. It was weak and unstable, but enough for N.4 to track it. He rushed to Manhattan where he spotted a stranger who emitted the unsteady energy. The aura became stable and more consistent. As he came closer, N.4 slowed down his pace to finally stop on top of his target. He looked down at the street, paused for a second then stepped back, surprised. What is he doing here? He knew who the stranger was. The late one followed his prey but was located. The prey walked around the building where N.4 stood, ensnaring the stranger who seemed to not noticing anything. He followed them from above. It’s not good. He hesitated: should he let the stranger follow his prey, being attacked and eventually get killed or should he save the stranger and probably lose track of his prey… again. The late one slowed his step, ready to confront his follower. ‘His death could be useful to complete my mission…’ N.4 mumbled. Right before the stranger turned the last corner, N.4 jumped off the roof, in front of him. The stranger froze. His surprised face didn’t last more than three seconds. Then he sneered. They stared at each other when N.4 finally broke the silence:

– ‘What are you doing here?’

– ‘Why so serious? Relaax, N.4! I’m here to help you.’

– ‘Who send you?’

– ‘Thaat, i can’t tell you, but i think you have an idea on it.’

– ‘Why?’

– ‘Whyy? Well, let’s think. It’s been… almost seven months since you left the castle. You don’t give any news and the only time you call, you’re telling us you lost the target… I think you can imagine the reason of my presence here.’ He paused. ‘I’m here to succeed where you failed.’ A contemptuous smile could be seen on his lips.

That last sentence resonated in N.4’s head as an echo of what he feared the most. Failure. Anger gained him. He was ready to silence anyone who might jeopardize his success. His aura grew fast around him. Time has stopped for a second. The stranger didn’t react. He stood still, watching with pleasure his opponent losing control of himself. Suddenly, the air lightened: he calmed down. N.4 took a deep breath and closed his eyes. His shoulders were relaxed then he launched a sigh. He looked at the stranger, determination in his eyes. The tracker walked closer to his interlocutor then paused: ‘We finish with this, then after that, I am gonna kill you…Owen.’ He walked away. ‘Even if we are brothers?!’ Owen shouted. ‘Okay…’ The two brothers walked side by side toward the last place where N.4’s youngest sibling last saw their prey. Owen led them to a new building, built ten years ago for the privilege of unfortunates. The creator of this facility was a comedian who had the courage to protest out loud for what he believed was unfair. He created an association where anyone could volunteer to give food and warm and safe places to sleep for the homeless. As the association grew over the years, the comedian expanded his organization by buying more buildings and renovated them. The two brothers stood in front of one of the newly renovated facility. The wall was colorful, almost blinding, full of life as if it would give the homeless some. They entered to investigate on their prey. The place was loud, crowded by homeless men and women. All seats were taken. Few people were walking around tables with plates in their hands, supplying those who wanted to eat more. They came in and out of a door background. N.4 started to scan everyone hoping to find a potential hostage. He hid in a corner to not look too suspicious.

Most of the homeless were grimy. They were all dressed the same way: with a dark green cap, an unwashed shirt, a long overused leather coat, mittens, some garbage collector’s pants and rain boots. The smell they gave off stung N.4’s eyes. Tears appeared in his eyes. Women’s hairs were long, dark and greasy. On their face, any and each houseless had oil stain like it’s a way for them to recognize each other in the street. Volunteers, on the other side, were cleaned up. Compared to the homeless, they looked like models. They all had a smile on their face, laughing at any jokes, trying to make people forget why they were here for. N.4’s stare stopped on someone: a young girl. She looked innocent with her smiley eyes and her constant and pure smile. Her dark long hair floated on her shoulders every time she turned her head. Each of her steps was lightweight. It seemed like she was flying over the floor. Around her, a thin film of condensed air stuck along her body. Undetectable for a normal human eye. N.4 kept his on her. The more he stared at her, the more he was certain: he has found his hostage.

To be continued

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